Viktorija Saric, founder of Mokita Ethically Sourced, is a designer who uses vegan leather in her pieces; ranging from tote bags to duffels bags and wallers, Viktorija not only keeps her pieces cruelty-free, she also incorporates Eastern cultural art into them. Each of her collections have meaning and a story behind them.
ABOUT THE FOUNDER
Viktorija was born in Croatia and came to Australia as a refugee when she was still a baby. She studied law and practiced as a family lawyer after graduating. After a year in that profession and seeing that it didn’t align with her values, Viktorija moved into mediation and launched Mokita, her ethical fashion brand. All this at the ripe and young age of 25.
“I am a big believer in kindness, human connection, love, and a need to stand up against exploitation and injustice, in all shapes and forms.”
Her love for animals is what moved this lawyer turned designer to displace the usage of animals in the fashion industry.
“I love to travel and learn about other ways of life. Some of the most important lessons I adopted in life were inspired by the locals of place, delivered in broken English, but the messages still made their impact.”
As with all small business owners, Viktorija wore many hats during the process of creating Mokita, while studying mediation and working 2 jobs to fund her dreams of making the world a better place.
When asked what inspired this budding business owner to start Mokita, she relayed a beautiful experience from her travels.
“During a trip to Thailand in 2013, my friends and I were browsing through dresses
at a small make-shift shop. As I was admiring the dresses, a beautiful woman
approached me asking if I needed any help. The woman and I started talking. She told me that she was from Burma (now known as Myanmar).
In our conversation, she told me about the civil unrest and lack of work in Burma and that she had a young child back home living with her parents while she herself came to Thailand (already a low power currency) to find a better wage to help her family.
She explained that she was in Thailand working so that she could send her boy to school when he was of age. She showed me a picture of him. the baby in the picture couldn’t have been over the age of 12 months. I asked her if she went home often to see him but she said no. She couldn’t afford to go home and probably wouldn’t see him again until he was five. Her face lit up as she told me that she heard him call her “mum” for the first time over the phone a few weeks ago.
What was remarkable about this woman was how optimistic she was about her situation. She appeared to completely lack any sense of self-pity towards her circumstances. Despite being away from her family and working minimum wage in Thai Baht (a low power currency), she was still grateful that she had a job in Thailand and would eventually be able to send her child to school. She radiated positivity about her circumstances to the point where I had to turn away because I was moved to tears.
I bought two dresses and said goodbye.”
“The next day I returned to her shop. She recognised me and greeted me warmly. After greeting her, I told her that I hoped that she could go back to her family sooner and gave her what money I could spare (only a small fortune that I had saved up waitressing prior to the trip).
The woman was shocked and wouldn’t take the money, insisting that I
take some clothes that she was selling. Despite her insistence, I declined her offer
and we embraced, both of us crying. I wished her all of the best and never saw her
Three years later, I found myself working as a family lawyer. Outwardly, I
appeared successful, but inwardly I was unsettled and unhappy. After
countless sleepless nights and hours lost in my own thoughts I realised that I
wanted to help support people like the beautiful woman that I had met in
Thailand. I wanted to be able to make a positive difference in the lives of those
who need it and I figured that supporting their livelihood and allowing them to
utilise their skills and support their families was how I wanted to go about it. I
left my job as a lawyer and started Mokita.”
Mokita currently has two collections under her belt; The Komorebi collection and the Suardika collection. Komorebi is a Japanese word for ‘sunlight that filters through the leaves of a tree’ and Suardika is Balinese for ‘guiding light’.
Visit www.mokitaethicallysourced.com to see their current range of bags, wallets and wristlets.
Viktorija (above) wearing a dress purchased from the Burmese shopkeeper who inspired Mokita, would like to extend her gratitude to her family, friends and loving partner for supporting her as she brought her vision to life.
They are wonderful and I wouldn’t have gotten this far without them.